In over 10 years, Arnie and I have only disagreed about a handful of things. (Macs vs PCs — “Macs” being the correct answer, obviously…)
One of those things is anonymous blogging.
When Arnie started BlazingCatFur, he was anonymous. I didn’t approve, but we don’t have one of those modern “marriages” where my disapproval is a “thing.” (You will never hear the expression “If mama ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy” in our house. There is no wifely veto, no “honey-do” list, no Wilma Flintstone-y “a mink coat!” attitude around here.)
Then someone whose name you are all familiar with stayed up until many a 3 AM googling the name of our cat and succeeded in putting the two of us together, thereby “outing” him. Half the “inside information” he gleefully posted about Arnie was incorrect.
It was pretty sad, especially since we all now know that this Sun Media columnist/commentator should have been paying way more attention to his own marriage than ours…
You know why else it was sad? Because guess what happened after he triumphantly posted his discovery.
Well, not nothing. Actually, now Arnie and I get more free trips and free stuff and big donations and job offers and insider tips because people know who he is and how to find him (and theylike the fact that he’s the good cop to my bad cop, and overall a much more pleasant individual to deal with.)
Yep, we’re both getting sued. After the first few months, you don’t even think about it any more. Our generous readers help pay our legal bills.
I understand if you have some national security/corporate workplace policy reason.
BUT if you’re worried about your personal safety, stop blogging or buy a gun.
Anonymous blogging has incrementally reduced the web’s credibility and, yeah, civility. Not only because (normal) people are more likely to blog something rude when they’re using a fake name, but because it actually increases “bullying.” Because so many people blog anonymously, this helps create the atmosphere of fear and “chill” that makes people afraid to use their own names. “People are blogging anonymously; there MUST be something to be afraid about, about using your own name. So I won’t either.”
And so the atmosphere of intimidation and implied (mostly empty) danger gets worse instead of better.
When you “bravely” make some “controversial” statement on your blog, but do it anonymously, you cancel out the “bravely” part, and are actually contributing to the net cosmic cowardice in the world. And cowardice is the last thing we need.
You’re peeing in the swimming pool, basically.
Anyway, today I stumbled upon a few things that do to this suckiness.
First, from the Ask the Headhunter newsletter:
…the Net is a great way to hang out with people — there are some great discussion forums to participate in and blogs where you can comment. Done right, it’s a good way to make valuable new contacts, and a way to build a reputation.
I believe the main reason a person’s postings on the Net can create problems is anonymity. If we think we’re anonymous, we’re more likely to post stupidly. How can you seem stupid if you’re anonymous? It’s not difficult, for someone whose job is to investigate you, to map your silly screen name to a similar e-mail address, Twitter account or Facebook page, and through your online haunts, and to track it back to you.
So, don’t be anonymous. Use your real name, or don’t post. Clearly identifying ourselves helps keep us honest — and undoubtedly helps decrease the litter of Internet leavings (and the load of nonsense) on the Net. (…)
…Your privacy is of course valuable. That may be why you decide to use a pseudonym. But, if you have something worth saying, and if you are thoughtful and circumspect, then I suggest you put your real name on your writings. It’s the rare individual who can be proud of the trail he or she leaves. While that trail might attract nuisances, it also attracts opportunities.
More on the total pointlessness of keeping your mouth shut cuz you might get in trouble, at the 3:20 mark:
When I was doing a tv show and we were doing it with a production company (which was unnecessary) and one of the lieutenants got on the phone with me during our second run with these folks, and he said, ‘Hey, so and so’s pissed off, the main man’s pissed off [because you’ve been calling him incompetent in public], and you better watch yourself, because this guy is VERY instrumental in getting you on the air.’
And I said, ‘Oh really? you mean like the other show he didn’t get on the air for us?
That shut his fat ****ing face up.
What can these people do, and who gives a **** if they’re pissed?
When my editor, who’s a nice woman, says ‘When you talk shit about Random House on the air, when your next book comes out, they might not be motivated to help you. (…)
I sold those books, you dill weeds, I sold them, so shut up. If anyone should be pissed off, it’s me. (…) This whole thing: ‘Oh! We don’t wanna piss off the people WHO DON’T DO ANYTHING ANYWAY?’
I don’t give a shit.
I’m self publishing from this point on.
I never thought adults would be this dumb.
Finally — from Married Man Sex Life:
Today was a disappointing day. Despite being extremely pragmatic in my view of human behavior, I came across a new low for people.
People actually complained to our employer about the Inside Edition piece.
Married monogamous couple kissing on TV. How that is offensive is beyond me. America is fail.
We have three responses to this:
(1) We unfortunately now have to decline any mass media related things in Connecticut. The book is doing well, but not quite that well that we can both quit our jobs. We also don’t hate our jobs or our employer, it’s just stupidly awkward.
(2) The blog is now behind the annoying adult content warning.
(3) Should anyone ever complain to our employer again, it will be because you have actively sought us out, have actively tried to be offended, and actively sought to damage us. As such, we will actively seek to recoup any lost income from you. Jennifer’s legal connections in the GLBT human rights community are quite spectacular. They will probably actively enjoy our case too.
We will be continuing what we do here.
Being afraid of posting stuff on the internet is like being afraid to leave the house in case somebody sees you do something stupid.
In a world where literally millions of men and women have posted nude photos and amateur p$rn, where Paris Hilton and Kim Kardashian are multi-millionaires, where Elliot Spitzer is rewarded for hiring prostitutes by getting his own TV show — you are just a sucker if you play by the old rules.
Do all the right things, and you’ll get fired anyway. I know too many people that’s happened to.
You pension? You don’t really think its gonna be there, do you?
Anyone can find out your true identity anyhow, if they really want to.
And there are easy ways for you to work Google so mostly good stuff will show up on page one, where 90% of people stop searching.
Do you really want to work for some big corporation that actually does one of those in depth checks into every comment you’ve left on every blog? If so, why? PS: you’re boring.
That bad thing you fear will happen probably won’t happen. Sure, something else “bad” may happen, but you can never predict what it will be anyhow. So who cares.
You may get hit by a car tomorrow.
So man the **** up.